FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe yesterday told hundreds of Zanu PF supporters who welcomed her at Harare International Airport that she was in good health and now felt “as fit as ever” after undergoing her third successive surgery in the Far East last month.
BY OUR OWN STAFF REPORTER
Grace, who arrived in the morning accompanied by President Robert Mugabe, briefly addressed party supporters where for the first time, she publicly disclosed her medical history and revealed that the latest surgery to remove a nagging appendix, was the third one after the first one in 1986 to remove tonsils and the second one in 1996 when she had gall bladder surgery.
Presidential spokesperson George Charamba said Mugabe joined his wife on his way back from Dubai.
Grace, however, said despite those “minor” operations, she was fit to drive the Zanu PF Women’s League agenda. “Mrs Stop it” — as she is now reffered to in Zanu PF circles after she led the crusade that caused the fall of former Vice-President Joice Mujuru — urged female party members to work hard despite the economic challenges haunting the nation.
Mugabe was the first to break the news of his wife’s ill health when he came back into the country last month, minus his wife, after a six-week holiday with his family in the Far East.
“She did not know for a long time what the problem was. She is out of hospital now. She . . . is resting,” Mugabe said then.
Appendicitis is the inflammation of the appendix, and common symptoms are abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and decreased appetite.
Severe complications of a ruptured appendix include widespread painful inflammation of the inner lining of the abdominal wall and sepsis.
The First Family’s health status had all along been regarded as a closely-guarded secret until recently when Mugabe disclosed that he regularly visits Singapore and other countries in the Far East for medical check-ups.
The secrecy about the First Family’s health created fertile ground for speculative reports.
Mugabe, after assuming the African Union chairmanship in Ethiopia late last month, reportedly proceeded to Asia before coming back and when he returned he was without his wife, further fuelling speculative reports that she was on her death bed in Singapore, which has now been proved groundless.
Grace is now viewed as the face of Zimbabwean politics as she is believed to wield enormous influence over political appointments and decisions made by Mugabe, who turns 91 next week.